LOCAL PRESS: The Temptation of Technology

The following was submitted to La Cañada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press and the Burbank Leader in response to the questions:  How important do you believe it is for people to unplug from technology from time to time? How do you teach, in your place of worship, ways people can put down the cell phone or laptop without this utter “disconnectedness” that some may feel at no longer being attached to their electronic devices?

Humans are defined, in part, by the drive to increase their efficiency. And, thereby, to increase the availability of leisure time in which to connect with and celebrate the glories of Life!

For this generation of humans that drive has manifested in remarkably seductive technology: allowing us to have at our fingertips (literally) a treasure trove of accumulated knowledge, that can be accessed and instantaneously shared in a multitude of new ways.

As a “commuting” minister I so value the technology that allows me to serve my community by these means when I’m not able to be (physically) on site!

At the same time, I’m acutely aware of the incredible preciousness of our “presence” to one another, whenever and wherever we gather as a covenanted people.

I’m aware of the depth of communication and celebration that happens when we “unplug”.

And, of who and what is lost when we don’t.

To help our plugged-in community “connect with and celebrate the glories of Life”, we ask that cell phones be silenced during our gatherings and that there be conscious appreciation for the ways in which our time for shared worship is set apart from the demands of the day-to-day.

Music helps.  So does our time of silent meditation, and the ability to personally greet one another and to express (in word or flame) our joys and sorrows.

The greatest reminders, however, with the most far-reaching implications, are our persistent affirmations of inherent human worth and dignity – which has nothing to do with the technology at our disposal.

And everything to do with our responsibility to care for one another – in every way possible.


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